'Frankenweenie' Official Synopsis & Story Details

Frankenweenie Tim Burton synopsis and production notes

Fans of famed Gothic director Tim Burton have another one of his films to look forward to in the next couple of years - a feature-length 3D stop-motion animation film called Frankenweenie, which is based on Burton's own 1984 live-action short film of the same name.

Although based on the '84 short (which last 30 minutes), this feature-length version of Frankenweenie will inevitably flesh out a lot of the story and themes in order to fill a longer runtime. In order to give you a better idea of what to expect from the movie, Walt Disney Studos has released the official synopsis and some interesting production notes.

Take a look at the official synopsis for Frankenweenie below:

From creative genius Tim Burton comes “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

The plot is almost the exact same as the original short film, but as I said, having the length of a full feature will allow Burton to expand on the story. As was the case with the original short, this sounds like classic Tim Burton stuff with a big helping of references to classic horror films (notably Frankenstein, hence the title "Frankenweenie"). Those references extend further as the newly released production notes reveal some of the characters' names, which are obvious references to classic horror films. The names include: Victor, Elsa Van Helsing, Edgar "E" Gore and Mr. Burgermeister.

The production notes also let it be known (if it wasn't already) that Burton originally envisioned Frankenweenie as a full-length, stop-motion animation in the vein of Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. However, due to budgetary constraints he was forced back in 1984 to film it as live-action and only as a short.

Frankenweenie 1984 short scene

Now it appears we'll be getting the Frankenweenie Burton always wanted to make and this is clearly no half-hearted attempt, since over 200 sets and puppets have already been created for the film (I imagine the lion's share of that number will consists of the puppets).

As with most major releases these days, Frankenweenie will be coming at us in 3D. However, one can imagine this will be a different sort of 3D than we're used to, since, according to the production notes, the film will be shot in black-and-white and then rendered in 3D. Those of you worried about the whole post-conversion 3D issue can feel better as animation is a lot different than live-action when it comes to how 3D functions.

The cast for Frankenweenie is already shaping up very well, with Burton regulars Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O'Hara and Martin Short already signed on to provide their voice talents - is it only a matter of time before Johnny Depp joins the cast?. The screenplay for the film was written by frequent Burton collaborator John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride).

There's no word on exactly when Frankenweenie will start shooting, but the film already has a release date of October 5th, 2012. Before moving onto the film, however, Burton has his long-awaited big-screen version of the Gothic TV show Dark Shadows, which is supposed to start filming this April. Burton will have to move onto Frankenweenie pretty quickly after that if he's to make the Fall 2012 release date.

Source: Walt Disney Studios

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